Smallpox

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Overview

Smallpox is an extremely contagious and deadly disease. It has been eradicated worldwide, but small samples of the poxvirus have been kept for research purposes. This means that it could still come back by some accident.

Causes

This disease is caused by the Variola virus, which is transmitted via the following ways:

  • Directly from person to person
  • Via contaminated items
  • As a potential war weapon

Symptoms

The symptoms of the infection appear 10-14 days after you’ve been infected. The following flu-like symptoms appear:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Discomfort
  • Severe fatigue
  • Severe backache
  • Vomiting
  • Flat red spots on the face, hands, forearms, and trunk. These red spots evolve to small fluid-filled blisters, with clear fluid, which later turns to pus.

Diagnosis

For the diagnosis of this disease, a tissue sample taken from the blister of an infected person can be used to test and confirm the diagnosis of smallpox.

Treatment

No curative treatment is currently available for smallpox.

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